Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is It Male or Female?

Can you tell the difference? Well if there was one species you would probably bet on being able to differentiate the sexes, the Golden Whistler might rank near the top. However, this is not so. I first became aware of this issue as a bander. I had banded one of my first Golden Whistlers, quite a few years ago now, and confidently recorded the 'brown' bird as a female. About a year later, I received a phone call from the banding office in Canberra, asking me, tongue in cheek, whether I could tell a male Golden Whistler from a female. Another bander had recaptured it, and it was most certainly a male. I followed this up with some search of the literature, and found that it takes 3 years before the male reaches the colourful plumage which we
recognise as 'male'. It may however, breed while still at the 'brown' stage.

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

Thanks for this, Alan. The adult male is certainly unmistakable, but your entry here explains why I sometimes reckon I've seen a female whistler singing beautifully!!